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Feminism and Hardcore: Why it does Matter?

Originally Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Written by: Ali

Challenging Outdated Notions & Unmasking Sexism in Our Own Backyard

In today’s society, all women face sexism on a daily basis, yet feminism is often treated as a relic from the ’70s. I’ve been thinking lately about where this idea comes from and what it means to us.

As women in hardcore, we often face sexism in a very visible and more aggressive way. I know this from personal experience. I’ve been a feminist for as long as I can remember, probably before I even knew the word.

I have been singing in bands since I was fifteen years old. For the past five years, I’ve been singing in hardcore bands. Hardcore has been the world to me, it has changed me and shaped who I am.

Yet, I’ve seen sexism run rampant in the scene. I’ve seen the fact that I’m a female dictate the way people in the scene perceive both my bands and me. I’ve watched the bands I’ve been in be constantly compared to other female-fronted bands, even when there are no similarities present. I’ve watched as the talents that I and other women in the scene posses are belittled and ignored. I’ve watched my appearance and my body be treated as though they are important than anything that comes out of my mouth.

I’ve heard myself and other women in hardcore be referred to as “bitches” as “cunts”, and “whores”. I’ve learned, over time, to shrug off the more unpleasant aspects of being a female in hardcore. The good, to me, far outweighs the bad. I also began to tell myself that the way we are treated is “no big deal”. I tried to ignore the injustices that I saw. I thought if I could “tough it out”, if all women did, we would eventually “earn” our place in the scene.

Taking a Stand for Equality

Only recently have I begun to realize that this is wrong. A few months ago I began to work for a domestic violence agency in Pennsylvania. For reasons of safety and confidentiality, I will not name the agency. Through my experiences working with battered women and children, I have come to see a very integral link between women in hardcore and the larger culture of sexism and violence against women. My eyes were opened to what it is that sexism actually accomplishes, even with its smallest advances.

I began to see how the little injustices I was “toughing out” are the foundation for the kinds of attitudes that make violence against women such a devastating problem in our culture. According to research done by the Center for Disease Control, approximately 4.9 million U.S. women are sexually or physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year. That works out to approximately 1 in every 3 women. One-third of all female murder victims are killed by a partner or an ex.

These statistics are alarming, and the reality of this violence is even more so. In a shelter setting the urgency of domestic violence is crystal clear. Not only is the shelter almost always completely full, it is many times teeming with children. These are children who have witnessed their mother’s abuse, usually at the hands of their own father or father figure. These children are also very likely to have experienced physical abuse themselves. I challenge anyone to spend time with these brave women and children and then deny that sexism isn’t still a relevant issue in our society.

They are abused because our society still allows it. They are abused because we want to pretend we are all free and equality reigns.. They are abused because we are not taking a stand.

Our Responsibility for a Better Future: Let’s Be the Change

So what does this mean for us as women in the scene? Unfortunately, according to the 1 in 3 statistics, it means a lot of us are likely to experience domestic and /or sexual violence in our lifetime. It also means that the sexism women face on a daily basis, in any scene, affects the larger climate of our culture. Those little comments we’ve been taught to accept, help condone the horrifying violence that is occurring every day. This also means that we have the power and responsibility to help make a change. We need to make that change, if not for ourselves for the other women who are suffering in far more deadly ways than we may be.

So what can we do? Stand up for ourselves and for others. Don’t ignore a rape joke or a disparaging comment about women in the scene. We are an important and vital part of the scene and we deserve to be treated that way. The things we’ve been conditioned to accept as “part of the scene”, will no longer be part of the scene if we continue to challenge them. The larger outcome of this is that they will eventually no longer be an acceptable part of society as a whole.

A Message to All Genders

I also call upon the guys in the scene to take part in this. Let’s face it; change can’t be a one-sided process. I applaud all the guys in hardcore who already support women in the scene. It’s not easy to be the guy who does that, but it is necessary.

I hope that someday the agency I work for, and others like it, will no longer exist. I hope the need for domestic violence agencies and shelters will disappear. I hope that I’ll be able to do the thing I love the most in the world, sing in a hardcore band, without any fear or hesitation. Right now, that reality seems far away.

Feminism isn’t something that’s outdated or unnecessary, in fact, the opposite is true. We need to remember that what we accept or don’t accept in our daily lives does matter. We also need to know that what we start challenging in our daily lives will change the bigger picture. Hardcore has always been a place for new ideas and an agent for change, here’s to hoping those ideals never die.

Taking Action Against Domestic Violence

For more information on domestic violence and what you can do visit www.ncadv.org.

Comments
Written by ihadninelives on 2005-07-14 17:19:40i’ve been a feminist for as long as i can remember too, and you certainly made your point. before reading this i’d never thought much about toughing it out vs standing up for other girls, because generally when a disparaging remark is made about someone else one doesn’t jump up in offense. however, we as women should take a more proactive role in gaining respect in the scene and in life in general, as opposed to just sitting back and taking the abuse that men give us, be it domestic, sexual, or just verbal. change doesn’t happen overnight, but every step we make towards equality is a step in the right direction.
i’m a dude… but i damn well agree
Written by Guest on 2005-07-01 20:44:47hey… i read this… i’m a guy… i’ve got a feminist girlfriend and mom. i agree with you. i have made an effort… and my parents have made an effort to ensure that i view women as equals to men. why should i treat you differently if you have a vagina? i have a penis. can’t we all get along??!?! ugh. well good for you for sticking up for what you know is right. and that whole 1/3 women is abused sent me over the edge. it is a truly eye opening statistic. good job ali!
Written by xxxWARZONExxx on 2005-06-15 12:50:18wow. seriously. i am speechless, and it is so true. Im glad you shared this with us, it really opens up your eyes, and proves us how ignorant we are as a gender. putting up with so much, we do need to stand up for ourselves but with respect to ourselves first. The way we portray ourselves and the way we come across. Chicks now need to know that if we are disrespected (not in all cases but many) is because we really dont give ourselves to be respected, we dont earn our position, I’m not talking about being a fucking tomboy or a dyke but a girl who guys can look at and say “hey she isnt like all those ‘sluts’ or ‘dykes'” kind of hard to achieve but hold your position and earn respect. Be true to yourself and don’t change. We are judged in all we do. the sxE girl much respect to her, the hardcore chick, she only knows what makes her so hxc. the scene chick, she should get a life or a job working at coldstone, music is all I’ve got, what has gotten me thru, I’m not going to let anyone put me down.
Written by Guest on 2005-05-30 21:17:49fuckin right girl!!
Written by Guest on 2005-05-24 14:01:57 amen sista

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